How To Pick The Right Chicken Coop Size

Raising chickens can be fun, rewarding, and even profitable. Whether you plan on buying or building a small-scale chicken coop for your backyard or are considering a larger coop on your property to start selling eggs, this guide is for you.

We’re going to start by going over all of the key features of any chicken coop. From there, we’ll talk about the kinds of chickens you can raise and how that affects chicken coop sizing. We’ll provide a calculator table to help you choose the perfect chicken coop size for your space and your chickens.

Once we’ve gone through all those details, we’ll give you a different calculator table to help you determine the average egg production you might see each year. We’ll finish up with more insights into some of the most popular sizes of chicken coops and a little FAQ section at the end for any remaining questions you might have.

This is the guide to sizing chicken coops for backyard enthusiasts, so without further ado, let’s get cracking! 

Key Features for Chicken Coops

Four key features should be considered before purchasing any chicken coop: The roost, the nesting boxes, the run, and the ventilation. 

Roost

Chickens roost in the air; doing so helps them avoid predators while protecting them from bacteria and disease. Your chicken coop should have roosts installed high above the ground and above any nesting boxes. There must be enough space for all the chickens, and the roosts must be sturdy enough to support their weight.

Nesting Boxes

Nesting boxes serve a dual purpose—they offer your chickens a comfortable place to lay their eggs and give you easy access to the eggs once they’ve been laid. They should be kept as dark as possible and installed well below the roosts. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need one nesting box for every 4-5 chickens. 

Run

The chicken run is an area outside of the coop where your chickens can run around—the area is typically enclosed by a fence. As a rule of thumb, you need ten square feet of run space per chicken. You’ll also need excellent fencing; this fencing should be buried at least 6 inches below the ground to impede burrowing predators. Strong mesh fences are best because they impede both large and small predators. 

Ventilation

Ventilation for chickens is complex; they have delicate respiratory systems and can lose insulation if the wind ruffles their feathers. As such, it’s best to install ventilation near the roof, while eliminating drafts below the roof. There’s an informative (and hilarious) guide to chicken coop ventilation that we highly recommend you check out for a detailed breakdown. 

What Type of Chicken Will You Raise?

The size, demeanour, and egg-laying behaviours of chickens can vary significantly depending on the breed you choose. Here in Manitoba (and through most of the Prairies), you’ll want to choose a cold hardy breed; down in the southern United States, on the other hand, heat hardiness is key.

To get a better idea of the breeds of chicken available, we recommend the Pick-A-Chick guide by Roberts Farm. You’ll get details on the egg-laying rate, size, hardiness, behaviour, and more for several different chicken breeds. 

Does the Size of the Chicken Breed Affect Coop Sizing?

Yes! Larger chickens typically need more space, and smaller chickens usually need less space. There are other factors to consider (a more active brood of small chicken may, for example, need more run space than a less active brood of standard size chickens).

With an undersized chicken coop, your chickens may become uncomfortable—it can lead to pecking and aggressive behaviour among chickens. Too much space in your chicken coop, and you’re spending money for no reason. 

Chicken Coop Size Calculator Table – Inside Space

The size of your chicken coop will depend on the size of the backyard chickens you’re raising, as well as the size of your backyard flock. Here’s the rule of thumb for sizing:

Small breeds: 2-3 square feet per chicken

Medium breeds: 3-4 square feet per chicken

Large breeds: 4-5 square feet per chicken

Note that the sizing we’re using assumes you have a chicken run. You’ll also need sufficient vertical space; chickens need floor and roosting space. We should also note that here in Manitoba, you should almost always opt for larger-size coops because your chickens won’t be comfortable outside when the cold weather hits. 

Coop size requirements (in square feet)

Flock SizeSmallMediumLarge
48-1212-1616-20
612-1818-2424-30
816-2424-3232-40
1020-3030-4040-50
1224-3636-4848-60
1428-4242-5656-70
1632-4848-6464-80
1836-5454-7272-90
2040-6060-8080-100
2244-6666-8888-110
2448-7272-9696-120
2652-7878-104104-130
2856-8484-112112-140
3060-9090-120120-150

 

Chicken Coop Size Calculator Table – Outside Space

Chickens need much more outdoor space than indoor space; fortunately, a larger run isn’t prohibitively expensive since the only real cost is fencing (and yard space). Here are the numbers we’ve used:

Small chickens get 5-6 square feet

Medium chickens get 10-12 square feet

Large chickens get 12-14 square feet

Note that some breeds are much more active than others and that these breeds should have more run space.

Run space requirements (in square feet)

Flock SizeSmallMediumLarge
420-2440-4848-56
630-3660-7272-84
840-4880-9696-112
1050-60100-120120-140
1260-72120-144144-168
1470-84140-168168-196
1680-96160-192192-224
1890-108180-216216-252
20100-120200-240240-280
22110-132220-264264-308
24120-144240-288288-336
26130-156260-312312-364
28140-168280-336336-392
30150-180300-360360-420

 

Yearly Egg Production Calculator Table

On average, a small chicken (or bantam chicken) will lay about 100 eggs per year. A medium-sized chicken may lay about 200 eggs per year, while a large chicken will typically lay about 150 eggs per year. These numbers vary widely depending on chicken breeds, what the chickens are being fed, weather, temperament, and more.

With that in mind, below is an average of how many eggs your chickens will lay, depending on the size and number of chickens. 

he estimated egg production for flocks of small, medium, and large chicken breeds, showing both the total number of eggs and the equivalent in dozens of eggs per year:

Egg Production Estimates (Per Year)

Flock SizeBantam Chickens (Total Eggs)Bantam Chickens (Dozens of Eggs)Medium Chickens (Total Eggs)Medium Chickens (Dozens of Eggs)Large Chickens (Total Eggs)Large Chickens (Dozens of Eggs)
4400338006760050
660050120010090075
88006716001331200100
1010008320001671500125
12120010024002001800150
14140011728002332100175.00
16160013332002672400200
18180015036003002700225
20200016740003333000250
22220018344003673300275
24240020048004003600300
26260021752004333900325
28280023356004674200350
30300025060005004500375

 

Chicken Coop Size for 4 Chickens

A coop sized for four medium chickens would need to be 12-16 square feet, with room to roost, and a 40-48  square foot run. This is a relatively small chicken coop size, making it the perfect option if it’s your first chicken coop and your first time raising backyard chickens. 

Chicken Coop Size for 6 Chickens

You can get away with a relatively small coop for 6 chickens, 18 to 24 square feet for medium chickens, with a 60-72 square foot run. You’ll only need about 2 nesting boxes and some space for roosting; this is a very manageable coop size.

Chicken Coop Size for 8 Chickens

For 8 medium chickens, you’ll need a fair size coop, 24 to 32 square feet, with 80 to 96 feet of run space. Two nesting boxes should still do fine; the run space is almost more of a bottleneck than the coop size! 

Chicken Coop Size for 10 Chickens

At 10 chickens, you’ll need 30 to 40 square feet of coop space and 100 square feet of run space. That still fits easily within the average backyard in Canada, even in many urban locations. 

Chicken Coop Size for 12 Chickens

With 12 chickens, you’ll be getting 100 to 200 dozen eggs each year, more than enough to give to friends and family and even some to sell. Despite this, you won’t need a gigantic coop; 36 to 48 square feet for the coop itself and 120-144 square feet of run. Two or three nesting boxes will be perfect. 

Chicken Coop Size for 15 Chickens

For 15 medium chickens, you’ll need 45 to 60 square feet of coop and 150 to 180 square feet of run. At this point, we’re talking about a fairly large chicken coop and one that might not be suitable for some urban environments—but this is still feasible for a lot of suburban homes with large backyards. 

Chicken Coop Size for 20 Chickens

For 20 chickens, you’ll need 60 to 80 square feet for your coop and 200 to 240 feet for your run. This is a large chicken coop, but it provides as much space as you need to raise a flock of this size.

We have a chicken coop specifically designed to accommodate 20 to 24 chickens, with enough roosting space and nesting space to keep a happy, healthy flock. 

Horizon Storage Shed Has the Perfect Chicken Coop for You

Our chicken coop is perfect for 20-24 chickens, and we can help build custom sheds to ensure you have as much space as you need for your chickens to thrive. Take a look at our free-range chicken coop, and get in touch with us with any questions you might have! 

FAQ

What factors determine the ideal size for a chicken coop?

Several factors influence the ideal size of a chicken coop, including:

  • The size of your flock
  • The size of your chickens
  • The size of your chicken run
  • The weather in your area (if it’s exceptionally cold, chickens will need a larger coop, because they won’t be able to use the run)
  • The temperament of your chickens
  • And more!

How much space does each chicken need inside the coop?

As a rule of thumb, here’s how much space each chicken needs inside the coop:

Small breeds: 2-3 square feet per chicken

Medium breeds: 3-4 square feet per chicken

Large breeds: 4-5 square feet per chicken

Note that these sizing requirements assume that you have a chicken run; if you don’t have a run, you’ll need a much larger coop. 

How does the outdoor run area affect the indoor coop size?

Generally, if chickens have enough space to run around, they need less space in their coop. There’s a limit to this; the sizing requirements we’ve listed don’t change if you double the size of the run. Basically, if your run is too small, you need a larger coop, but if your run is oversized, you still need the same space in your coop. 

Are there different sizing guidelines for meat birds vs. laying hens?

Birds that are being bred and raised for meat don’t need as many nesting boxes, which can reduce the overall size of the coop. On the other hand, meat birds tend to be larger than laying hens; as such, you may need a larger coop. Generally, you should follow the guidelines we’ve set out here whether you have meat birds or laying hens. 

What should be considered for future expansion when sizing a coop?

Space is the most important consideration; you can’t merge two coops together easily. As such, you should opt for an oversized coop if you plan on expanding your brood in the near future. Ideally, you want one coop and one run for all of your chickens.

How do climate and weather impact coop size and design?

Ventilation and insulation are two keys to creating the perfect coop; they’re necessary in both cold and warm climates. 

Very hot and very cold weather might also dissuade your chickens from using the run. You should buy hardy breeds that are resistant to extreme temperatures if that’s a concern, but even the hardiest breeds will avoid very harsh weather. As such, you should build a larger coop in these climates so your flock will still have space to unwind in inclement weather. 

What are common sizing mistakes to avoid when choosing a chicken coop?

The biggest sizing mistake is to size down in order to save money. You need space for roosts, nesting boxes, and for the chickens to move around; you may also want to increase the size of your flock. We recommend oversizing your coop rather than undersizing it. 

Another common mistake is to build a coop with no run; unless your coop is massive, that will lead to a lot of problems. All of our coop sizing guides assume that you have a run.